National Contingency Plan
In the event of a major pollution incident in UK waters arising from shipping or offshore oil and gas operations, the UK National Contingency Plan (NCP) is implemented. The plan can be viewed on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) website.
Pollution Incidents in Scottish Waters
Under the NCP, Marine Scotland Science provides a 24-hour emergency response through a duty officer service. In the event of an emergency, the duty officer works in collaboration with staff from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and/or the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). Together they provide advice to primary responders on the overall environmental benefit of using dispersants to treat spilled oil in particular situations.
To report any pollution incidents please contact the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
Pollution Response in Emergencies: Post-Incident Monitoring Guidelines
A set of new guidelines has been developed to strengthen the response to oil and chemical spills at sea. The post-incident monitoring guidelines are a key output from the PREMIAM project (Pollution Response in Emergencies: Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring) which was initiated in 2009.
The guidelines provide the principles upon which effective post-spill monitoring and impact assessment in UK waters will be based and is supported by 19 UK government partners. The guidelines cover a wide range of issues including:
- planning surveys
- sampling practices (including handling and storage)
- chemical analysis
- ecological assessment
Marine Scotland staff would play a key role in the Environment Group established as described by the NCP. Marine Scotland co-chairs the Environment Group within SNH.